Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


moment we undertake the work of the historian. In
other words, if these theses and maxims are not true in
the present world they are a necessary part of the
structure of the realm of history. For in this latter
realm, certainly, no ethical principle can be alleged to
override the primary duty of extending charity, that is
to*say, increasing human understanding by an effort
which always requires the expansion of sympathy.


In the conduct of life we shall often find it the case that
the world condenses its assessment of a personality into
something which it would not be unjust to describe as
rather an aesthetic than a moral judgment. The question
of a man's charm and his general demeanour, his bravery
and the tact which he shows in the conduct of affairs—
all these may be rolled up with our moral approval in
what is really a judgment of the total product in so far
as it is observable to an outsider. It cannot be denied
that this over-all judgment of personalities—which is
inclined to regard itself as a moral judgment, and as the
final summing-up of the matter—tends to award medals
to many of those qualities of personality which bloom
more readily in the warmth of favourable circumstance.
Here, where we applaud a certain nobility of mind or a
niceness of disposition in a man, we are not unaware
that fortune itself may have had a part in producing the
attractive result. There, on the other hand, where we
see forms like blasted oaks, we know that fine shapes of